Have you ever felt like you’re faking your way through life? I have. Our faces are masks, displaying what we hope the world will see. We can project only what we want, and hide the rest within ourselves. Our clothes are layers that cover scars accumulated over the years. Makeup paints a face completely invented, possibly fake. No one has to know.
On my blog I wear a mask, as do all bloggers. The internet is the easiest place to display tiny bits of information. We can fabricate every detail, sculpt what we maybe wish was la verdad (truth). We withhold our identities, names, souls, locations (understandably, for our own safety). We let readers in only so far, slamming the doors in their faces when they are unwelcome.
There are people in our lives (and bloggers) who are those “open books.” They travel to the depths of their pain and spill stories some may consider too personal. This could be therapeutic. Maybe it’s engrained in their personalities to wash off their makeup, peel away the layers, and lift the masks away from their faces.
Yet at times, everyone has worn a mask. Some for years, others for only specific periods of their daily lives. At work when we want to look put together. For our friends who need us to listen and forget about our own problems for a while. In front of strangers who have no business seeing us without a painted face.
Throughout the ups and downs of life, trusting and mistrusting the hundreds of faces I’ve seen, I’ve learned something: It’s all about who is worth it. I wear a mask every day, depending on who I’m around. But I keep my life to myself unless I know the person is worth lifting away the mask for.
“Isn’t that tedious?”
Maybe. But I’d rather wear a mask for people who have not yet earned my trust.
Wearing makeup is tiring; washing it off is a relief. But once a cut heals, the scar is branded on your skin forever. You can cover it, but beneath the clothing, it’s still there. I would rather wear a mask until I know it’s safe.
Does this mean that if we wear masks, we are faking it? Not necessarily. In my mind, wearing a mask means concealing particular aspects of oneself. We may fake a smile, a laugh, or even spill a white lie from our lips.
Some people may go overboard and invent a new person to show the world. But this isn’t healthy, because the lies will eat the person alive eventually.
Wearing a mask is survival. Revealing too much could allow someone to take advantage, use information against the person, or judge him or her negatively. Possible damage is irreversible. Masks are shields to hopefully prevent pain.
At the end of the day, I wash my face and look in the mirror. No smile, no gold shimmer on my eye lids, no pink lip gloss. I know one person who I can live with, without wearing a mask. I relax my shoulders, knowing I don’t need to wear a mask for myself. Some cannot say this. Some people are running their entire lives, searching for their missing identities. They hide within the depths of what they wish they could be, painting a beautiful mask that isn’t la verdad.
Not everyone who looks in the mirror understands what they see, appreciates it, or even accepts it. I have been one of those people in the past. But I’m not that person anymore. I’ve taken the mask off for myself, finally. And I’m slowly finding who else is worth it.
I feel safe enough to not wear a mask for myself.